Sep 15

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May A Christian Go To War?

“The Lord is a man of war” –Exodus 15:3

This question can be easily solved by answering another question: “Does God ever tell man to do that which is sinful?” In other words, would God ever command you to sin?
Anyone who knows anything about the God of the Bible would answer in the negative. If God commanded a man to do that which is sinful, then either: (1) the man will do that sinful thing (and is therefore guilty of sin); or he will not do the sinful thing (and therefore is sinning by disobedience). Thus, to answer in the affirmative would have God placing man in a situation in which he sinned no matter what he did!
However, God does not do that to man. He assures us that He “will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13). In other words, God will not put a man in a situation in which he cannot but sin. God never puts man in “checkmate.”
Thus, the answer to the question (Does God ever tell man to do that which is sinful?) is “No.”
With this established, turn to and read Deuteronomy 20:16-19. Here, God commanded (v.17) His people to go up against the (evil) inhabitants of Canaan. He commanded them to destroy them (v:17), besiege them (v: 19) and, yes, make war (v:19).
Since God does not tell man to do that which is sinful, and since God is telling His people (i.e., children of God) to go to war, then it is not sinful for God’s children today (i.e., Christians) to go to war.
May we pray and hope for peace. But if war comes, our children and our brethren who go to war are not committing that which is sinful in God’s sight.

Gary Henson

Note: Not all war is pleasing to God. There are evil, aggressive nations as well as individuals. God was not pleased with the war which the Ninevites involved themselves. (Nahum 1:15; 2:1,3; 3:1). Those who engage in such are sinning (Nahum 1:3; 3:5).

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